Mr. Porter to Mr. Hay.
Paris , November 9, 1899 .
Sir: Referring to Mr. Vignaud’s letter of June 28, in reply to your note of June 14, concerning the remains of Paul Jones, I am now in position to inform you that the place where he was buried has been found and that I have also procured a copy of the official report of the burial, which took place under orders from the French National Assembly. The original report was destroyed at the burning of the city hall of Paris in 1871, but, fortunately, a well-known archaeologist and writer who died some time ago, Charles Read, made a copy of the document, which has just been found among his papers.[Page 277]
The burial place of Paul Jones was at the time a Protestant cemetery, upon which buildings are now erected, but a French archæologist, M. de Recaudy, who, at the request of this embassy, took the matter in hand and made this interesting discovery, believes that he could locate within 8 or 10 yards the spot where the body was interred, and he is confident that a careful excavation of the place would result in the discovery of the remains of the hero. I inclose herewith a copy of a report which M. de Recaudy has addressed to me on the subject, which is of great interest. M. de Recaudy suggests to me that a committee be formed of persons interested in the matter, who would provide for the funds to purchase the property and make the proper excavations with the view of having the remains transferred to the United States, should they be found. The coffin, in all probability, was of wood, and unless there was a metallic plate bearing the name of the deceased, or a sword or some article not perishable, it might be difficult to identify whatever may be left of the body. I submit these suggestions to your appreciation, and can only say that I will cheerfully cooperate in any action having in view the removal to the United States of the remains of Paul Jones. I also inclose a photograph showing the main buildings now standing on the site of the Protestant cemetery mentioned in the “report.” The structure to the right bearing the sign “Encadrements” is supposed to stand on the spot where Paul Jones was buried.
I have, etc.,